The panel was welcomed to the new Live Well Centre, which is based in Dundas House, Dundas Shopping Centre. The facility spanned across five floors and was due to open in spring 2017. Once opened the Live Well Centre would provide a wide range of services including a state-of-the-art community gym and fitness studio, training kitchen, training rooms, cafe, consultation rooms, clinical room and rooms for alternative therapy.
Members were advised that the concept for the Live Well Centre had been brought together by Middlesbrough Councils Public Health Team following significant investment from the Council and Public Health England. This new venture sought to support more innovative, accessible and collaborative service delivery with the aim of achieving improved outcomes, reduced costs and putting Middlesbrough on the map as a town invested in improving population health and wellbeing.
It was explained that this fresh idea has been designed with local people, for local people, and aimed to bring together a wide range of services on one site, without the need for multiple appointments, endless paperwork and telling the same story over and over again. This state-of-the-art wellbeing facility had been designed to energise Middlesbrough for change and encourage collaborative working between key delivery partners, who could collectively empower individuals to lead healthier and happier lives. Whether it was making positive lifestyle changes, learning new skills or taking the first steps to overcome addiction or a mental health issue, the Live Well Centre would support individuals and families to access services that could empower them to reach their goals.
Members were advised that vibrant colours have been used on each of the floors including purple, green and yellow to create a feel of positive energy in the building. The use of these thematic colours would be complemented by promotional images, which had been designed to show people on a journey to achieving happier and healthier lives. The key aim was to direct people to use the assets and resources around them, as well as link people into the appropriate support available in the building. Navigators would welcome people into the building and signpost them to the relevant floor. Drug and alcohol services, stop smoking services, mental health support, citizens advice, Thirteen and Job Centre Plus would all operate from the Live Well Centre and collectively provide a holistic offer of support. There was also the possibility of health and well-being start-up businesses launching at the centre and the potential for the creation of a business incubation hub, which was an exciting prospect and mirrored the ethos of the centre.
Navigator North were located on floors 5 to 8 of the building and the landlord offered easy in, easy out terms. Given that the long term future of the public health grant was uncertain it was advised that there was a need for the Public Health Team to generate revenue and operate quite commercially in the management of the building.
During the course of the tour, the following issues were raised:-
The name of the centre - The Live Well Centre had been chosen as opposed to Health Centre as it was felt the word well was much more accessible than health.
Designated family spaces had been included in the design and the clinical rooms had been designed to comply with CQC standards. Small operations, immunisations and baby clinics could be held at the centre and the healthy child programme would be able to operate from the venue. Weights and checks could all be undertaken in one room and the whole family could be seen together. The vibrant colour of the flooring in the family rooms had been chosen by families and young people.
The centre was fitted with CCTV throughout the building, all staff would be provided with portable panic alarms and efforts had been made to make the building as secure as possible.
A diverse offer would be provided on the third floor, as five clinical rooms were located on this level, a waiting area, IT provision for clients to receive guidance with job applications, a couple of larger group rooms and smaller intervention rooms for 1:1 work. On a quarterly basis a market stall event to showcase the offer provided by organisations such as Macmillan, Mind and Cancer Research had also been proposed.
The Health Development Team was part of Public Health and delivered health on prescription courses in the community. The main area on the third floor included a gym, training kitchen and café area. The closest gym facility to the town centre at present was Middlesbroughs Sports Village and it was envisaged that this facility in the TS1 area would encourage people in the town centre to access a local gym. Yoga, Pilates and dance classes as well as cardio resistance and free weights would be available. Dry changing rooms would be installed including a single shower unit. The training kitchen would accommodate up to sixteen people, which would be used by both Middlesbrough Environment City (MEC) and Middlesbrough Recovering Together (MET), to provide cooking on a budget classes and advice on nutrition, as well as training for care home staff.
The first floor consisted of a self-contained unit with its own dedicated entrance and exit point. People would be able to be buzzed in via the video entry system to access the needle exchange which was more discreet. It was advised that the vast majority of needle exchanges currently were for performance and image enhanced drugs. Heroin users were in the minority or tended to access exchange facilities in the community. Legal highs were a bigger issue and it was hoped that people using legal highs would be engaged via this new facility. Sexual health services would also operate from the premises and the location of The Live Well Centre provided a good thoroughfare for Middlesbrough College.
It was queried whether there was any breast feeding facilities provided at The Live Well Centre and it was confirmed that this suggestion would be taken on board. Dementia friendly signage had been used throughout the centre and work was to be undertaken to upgrade the street lighting on Linthorpe Mews. Initially The Live Well Centre would be open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, with the possibility of extending the opening hours from 7am - 7pm. Ultimately the opening times would be based on the needs led demands of the clients. The Public Health Team had been working with Communication Leads at South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group and North East Commissioning Support to spread the word about the offer provided at The Live Well Centre.
In terms of funding for the development of The Live Well Centre the panel was advised that two Public Health England Capital Grants had been had been received since January 2015, the first for £300,000 and another for £287,000. A soft launch was scheduled for 17th March 2017 for mainly existing services to address any teething issues. A sum of £300,000 had also been set aside from the local public health grant and over £1million worth of savings had been made through the new MRT model and relocation of services. MRT would have a significant presence in The Live Well Centre but given that a much broader offer was available stigmatisation of accessing drug and alcohol services would be reduced. The Public Health and Public Protection Team in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland had been combined to form one South Tees team.
One of the main advantages of establishing the The Live Well Centre was that people could benefit from the whole offer. Dedicated gym sessions, nutritional information, family space, benefit advice and drug and alcohol recovery services would be available in the Centre. The point was made that it was well recognised that if the whole family was supporting an individual in treatment and recovery there was a higher chance of success.
Reference was made to the fact that The Live Well Centre appeared quite unique in the holistic offer provided and it was queried whether there were any similar facilities in the UK. The Advanced Public Health Practitioner confirmed that the facility was a trailblazer. The press had been very supportive and BBC Look North had provided excellent coverage of the opening of bar zero. National leads in Public Health were being invited to the launch and the panel wished the officers every success with this venture.
AGREED as follows:-
1. That an invitation to undertake a return visit to The Live Well Centre be offered to the panel to allow Members to see the facility in use.